This past week, one of the things aiding me to finish my projects and other requirements before the dreadful finals was listening to The Red Necklace audiobook. Narrated in Tom Hiddleston's charming voice, you'll be captivated by not only the story, but how magnificent he is at giving life to each of the characters. His impressions were on point and truly fascinating! You will pause to think whether or not it really is just Tom, or other actors' voices as well.
The Red Necklace is set during the French revolution. It is a coming-of-age story that primarily focuses on Yann Margoza a young French gypsy boy, and Sido de Villeduval, the daugther of the Marquis. The story is enthralling and it will have you gasping for air as Yann navigates his way out of Paris, and of course, as he help the de Villeduvals break free from the evil Count Kalliovski. It's such a beautiful story, I'm surprised no one has made a movie out of it yet! Thankfully, there's a fan-made trailer to give you an insight of the story.
As stated in Sally Gardner's website, Dominic West (The Wire) has bought the film rights to both The Red Necklace and its sequel, The Silver Blade. He plans to make this film for one of his daughters who absolutely loved the book! In case West plans to finally make a film out of Sally Gardner's French Revolution thrillers, the following would be my casting suggestions.
1.) Yannick "Yann"Margoza (Ben Barnes)
Yann is an orphaned boy traveling with and assisting magicians. He has gypsy blood (which he didn't know earlier), that enables him to read minds and sometimes, see the future. He is described as having dark hair and 'eyes as dark as midnight, with two stars shining in them'. With that description, I could not imagine anyone playing the beloved gypsy boy anyone other than Ben Barnes.
Alternate choice: Avan Jogia as Yannick would be a perfect choice. He has the hair (which he has to cut off eventually), the eyes, and I'm sure he can perfect all of Yann's impressions throughout the story.
2. Sidonie 'Sido' de Villeduval (Alexandra Daddario)
Sido is described to have the most bewitching blue eyes, pale skin and dark hair -sort of like a china doll. She also has a limp, due to an accident which killed her mother Isabelle and uncle Armand (the Marquis de Villeduval's half brother).
Alexandra Daddario has that most bewitching blue eyes I've ever seen! Now, we just have to mak her look fragile or as thin as Steve Rogers before the super-soldier program and we have the perfect Sido!
Alternate choice: Elle Fanning is already a fan-favorite for the role of Sido! She's also proving to be a star to watch and will likely be an acting heavyweight just like her older sister. She just needs to have that dark hair back!
3. Tetu (Martin Freeman)
Tetu was the magician Topolain's assistant. The magician met a tragic, yet poetic death at the hands of the Count. Tetu is telekenetic and telepathic as well. He acts as a father figure to Yann. What's more, even though he isn't a hobbit, he is a tiny man (a dwarf, by any other name), but what he lacks in height, he makes up for in skill and intelligence. Freeman has that kind, fatherly look about him which I envisioned in Tom Hiddleston's narration. Now he just has to nail a high-pitch voice, and he'd make a perfect Tetu.
4.) Count Kalliovski (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Count Kalliovski is an evil person. He also acquaints himself with the aristocrats of France, and he knows everything about everyone. He even loans them outrageous amounts; they need only to tell him their deepest, darkest secrets. The kind of things you wouldn't even say in a confessional.
In my mind, the Count could be Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, or Tom Hiddleston. However, the Count was described to have never aged a day. Cumberbatch's baby-face certainly fits the bill. Benedict Cumberbatch isn't someone with large, ugly hands (i.e. a murderer's hands) but he certainly looks ageless and can be menacing if he wants to. Listen to his evil Smaug voice, it does sound like the Count's!
5. Mr. and Mrs. Laxton (Jude Law & Marion Cotillard)
The Laxtons are Sido's aunt and uncle from her mother's side. Mrs. Juliette Laxton is her mother's sister, who married Henry Laxton, an English banker. Henry Laxton has a mutual friend with Tetu, and it was that friend who suggested Yann should enter the Laxton's care. When in London, they discover Tetu's death, and take Yann under their wing, treating him like their own. Imagining the Laxtons through Hiddles' narration, I saw Jude Law and none other than the French chéri, Marion Cotillard.
6. Marquis de Villeduval (Alan Rickman)
The marquis was a pompous, idiotic aristocrat who squandered his family's fortune. He owed a huge amount of money from Count Kalliovski to fund his vanity. He was well-known for his extravagant parties and indifference for his only daughter. The role of an aristocrat is fitting for this former Potions professor, that's for sure!
To everyone who hasn't read (or heard of) Sally Gardner's The Red Necklace, it certainly is a YA book that you need to listen to or read, right now. It's as beautiful as it is well-written. It's a book that will take you to another time, and its characters will grip you with their charm and magic.